Health Sciences Department Chair Brings Wealth of Knowledge to Rasmussen University
By Kirsten Slyter on 09/14/2021
When Joyvina Evans was just 13, she knew she wanted to grow up to be a doctor—and a teacher. She wrote down that goal and still has that exact piece of paper today. Little did she know she would grow up to be both, in a capacity she hadn’t even imagined!
Dr. Evans is now the School of Health Sciences Department Chair at Rasmussen University. She oversees the Master of Public Health and Master of Healthcare Administration programs while also teaching several courses.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” says Dr. Evans, who holds a PhD and Master’s in Public Health, a Master of Science in Administration, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management.
Getting her start in public health
Dr. Evans got started working in academic research at a hospital in Flint, MI, where she saw first-hand the effects of public health. She helped run clinical research trials for medications addressing health issues like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity—conditions impacted by the work of public health professionals. Because of the health inequities of the community she worked in, Dr. Evans encountered patients considered by some to be the “sickest of the sick.”
Dr. Evans later worked as the Project Lead in Cardiovascular Research at the University of Michigan. She helped run a “bio bank” that processed the blood and tissue, which had been biopsied from patients diagnosed with aortic conditions and needed to undergo open-heart surgery. In addition to ordering all the supplies necessary to run the bio bank, Dr. Evans also recruited, trained and supervised its research assistants, who were primarily pre-med or pre-health students.
Along the way, she found she really enjoyed working with and mentoring these students. She would ask them what their goals were and do her best to integrate training and experiences that would help further those goals. “Working with those students is really what got me interested in higher education,” she says.
Where she finds her motivation
Dr. Evans has always known that she wanted to pursue a terminal degree. The people she most admired professionally in healthcare and higher education had their terminal degrees and she didn’t want to place any limits on the opportunities coming her way. To that end, Dr. Evans has earned a total of three graduate degrees: a PhD, a Master’s in Public Health and a Master of Science in Administration.
But Dr. Evans insists that she didn’t achieve all those just for herself. She wanted to set an example for her nieces, the teens that she mentors and her future children by setting the bar high, with the mindset of: “If I can do that, they can do it too.”
On giving back
Even outside of the office, Dr. Evans is passionate about giving back through mentoring. She started mentoring teens through her local church and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She went on to found her own company, Confidence Academy, which is focused on building confidence and self-esteem in teen girls.
“Confidence Academy was birthed from a tumultuous season,” says Dr. Evans. After calling off a wedding and losing a loved one in a traumatic motorcycle accident, she started questioning who she was and own her self-worth. Coming out of that dark period with renewed confidence, Dr. Evans realized she wanted to help others get through their own difficult situations and find the confidence to create and reach ambitious goals.
Finding her place at Rasmussen
Though Dr. Evans loved her work at University of Michigan, she was interested in transitioning to a university with an online focus, hoping to make an impact on students from across the U.S. “I wanted to work at an institution where I felt I could make a bigger impact,” she says.
Once at Rasmussen University, not only did Dr. Evans help design the Master of Public Health curriculum at, she continues to teach several courses. She loves working with public health and health administration students, who tend to have a strong desire learn and high levels of empathy and compassion. She strives to help them gain confidence when encountering new subjects like epidemiology.
She’s also passionate about helping students incorporate self-care into their busy lives. She understands many Rasmussen University students are balancing work, class and families so she encourages them to say no to what they have to, to set boundaries and to create habits that help them relax and recharge. For example, Dr. Evans makes it a point to get all her errands and housework done during the week to leave the weekend open for recharging and connecting with friends and family. “Self-care means caring for your time,” she says.
Working with online programs at Rasmussen University, Dr. Evans also enjoys the extra opportunities for professional development that working from anywhere gives her. She’s been able to travel to public health events at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Georgetown University and The George Washington University. In 2019, she presented to Harvard University students at the Health Equity and Leadership conference sponsored by Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr. Evans has high standards for herself—and for the health sciences department, especially the Master of Public Health and Master of Healthcare Administration programs. “Ultimately, my goal is to ensure we have appropriate rigor and we are staying abreast of trends and what is going on in the world,” says Dr. Evans.
Though healthcare is rapidly changing, Dr. Evans is focused on making sure her students are as prepared as possible to make an impact. “After all, healthcare isn’t going anywhere,” she says.